Thursday, October 18, 2012

Passport to Nowhere - Samuel Blessing, Author

 
Ingredients
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped, divided
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 habanero peppers, seeded and minced
2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped green onion
3 (15 ounce) cans chili beans
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (12 ounce) bottle lager-style beer
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 cup water
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Directions
Cook ground beef and pork in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the meat is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink. Drain and discard any excess grease. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in 3/4 of the onion and all of the green pepper, habanero pepper, jalapeno pepper, and garlic. Cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir the drained meat into the onion mixture along with the green onion, chili beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, beer, and water. Sprinkle with the cornmeal, then season with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate overnight. Reheat the chili over medium heat until it begins to simmer again. Top individual servings of chili with cheese and remaining chopped onion.
 
 
Passport to Nowhere – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish
 
Because he wielded so much clout, the teachers in Gilmore’s department loved him. Even the new people, who were at the bottom of the totem pole, looked up to him. Mac even respected him until one day in his second year when one of Mac’s football players, Miko Magala, kept wandering by Mac’s room two or three days a week during fourth period.
 
“Hey Miko,” Mac finally asked him one day, “Where the hell are you supposed to be?” “Ah, coach, do I have to tell you? Can’t I just hang out here and learn some extra science from you?” Mad knew the kid was not Phi Beta Kappa, but he was a hard worker on the football field and was earning a C grade from Mac in his second period biology class. Miko could also be a smart-ass but Mac nipped that in the bud the first time they met. “Miko, you must have a fourth period class. Where is it?” “Ah, I don’t want to get into trouble, coach.” “Look, if an assistant principal sees you wondering around you will get into trouble, and I don’t want to see you get kicked off the team or worse, get kicked out of school. Where are you supposed to be?” “English, with Mr. Gavore.”

 
Seems that the beloved Mr. Gavore had a plan that would keep his classes up on the scales and rid himself of some of the problem students at the same time. In the case of Miko, Mr. Gavore would have him check in with him every day, he would then mark him present and have him go to the library or wherever as long it wasn’t in his class making a disturbance. Mac, who hadn’t been at Knoward long enough to accept this as the truth found it too bizarre so he took this information to his fellow teacher Frank Bottoms who confirmed it to be the truth.
 
Knoward High School, or ‘Nowhere High School’ as most of the teachers came to calling it, was one of those schools that seemed to attract most of the problem kids as well as the problem teachers. If you couldn’t make it in other schools you were sent to ‘Nowhere’ and if you were a teacher that simply couldn’t make it in the normal schools, you too were sent to ‘Nowhere.’ The teachers were just as bad as the students and in some cases worse and two of the worse teachers just happened to be Lizbeth and Sandy. Actually Lizbeth was probably the worse because she was able to lead Sandy around to do all of her ‘evil’ work. If she found a teacher she didn’t like, heaven help them. She would find a way to get rid of them before their 2 year tenure and her best tool was having Sandy spread rumors that the teachers had no defense against. Also, Lizbeth was known for providing ‘extra-curricular activities’ that would assure her control over the students.

 
Mac stepped into Lizbeth’s trap but was able to pull himself out before the door sprung causing her to hate him more than anyone else. It all boiled down to the fact that she couldn’t control him. But that didn’t stop her from going after a new teacher Mac had befriended and done his best to protect. And with Lizbeth, if downright meanness didn’t work a little kindness with meanness to follow did. So these were her means to remove Quentin from ‘Nowhere’ High.

 
As I read Passport to Nowhere I could see the beginning of a reality show for TV. Now it would have to be on the HBO channel due to language and some of the descriptive wording but still one that would be quite interesting. The Author Samuel Blessing is a retired school teacher and I really hope that these stories are all coming from his imagination and not real life experiences. Although, with the lack of discipline within the school systems today, I can see each event unfolding just as he has described it and it scares the heck out of me as a reader, parent and grandparent. So just to be on the safe side of education, I suggest you read Passport to Nowhere and draw your own opinion as to whether this book is fact or fiction. I’m calling it ‘fiction’… I think.

 
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